Afghanistan is located in central and western Asia, and is also known as the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. The name comes from ancient Persian, meaning “mountain people.” Covering an area of 652,300 square kilometers, Afghanistan has a population of 27.75 million, including Pashtun, Tajikistan, Uzbek, Hazara, Turkmenistan, and other ethnic groups. Pashto and Dari (Persian) are the official languages. Residents are Muslim. The currency is the Afghani, and the capital is Kabul (Kabul).
Afghanistan National Flag
Three rectangles of green, red, black with a central design involving wheat, mosques, and other tassel.
In 1747, the kingdom of Afghanistan was established. In the 19th century, British and Czarist Russia compete over rule of Afghanistan. In 1919, Afghanistan gained independence from British colonial rule. In December 1979, the former Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, withdrawing in 1989. In April 1992, the Soviet Union fostered the collapse of the Najibullah regime, and Arab guerrillas took over power. In 1996, the Taliban captured the capital, establishing of the Taliban regime. In December 2001, the Taliban regime collapsed, and the post-war reconstruction of Afghanistan began.
Economy and Culture Overview
Year after year in Afghanistan since the war, the economy is in ruins and there are more than 500 million refugees in exile. Traditional agriculture is the primary industry, with 82% of the population involved in agriculture. Less than 15% of the land is suitable for farming. Main crops are wheat, barley, rice, corn, cotton, sugar beet, oil crops, and fruits. The country is famous for the pomegranates of Kandahar. Because of large production of fruit, the dried fruit processing industry is very developed. Other manufactured products include hand-woven carpets, tapestries, and wool, and the prestigious purple lambskin.
Afghan society is deeply influenced by traditional customs and religion. Men and women can not dance together. Women in addition to their own family members, not other men appeared before meals to wear Heijin.
Afghanistan’s Baghlan city is a famous Buddhist shrine. The monastery once flourished with a thousand monks. In this southeastern city of Buddhist grottoes, colored Buddha statues are in caves with colored wall paintings. There are also two large Buddha statues that were carved in the fifth century BC, face to face east to west, 400 meters apart. The two statues are 53 meters and 35 meters tall, respectively, in red and blue colored robes. These most famous of the Bamiyan Buddhas have been destroyed by the Taliban regime.